Google has begun rolling out a significant update to Google Play Services for Android that has a significant number of fixes and improvements for users. The updated build is version 8.7.03 for those keeping score at home and should be hitting your compatible device in the next few days. So what exactly is Google Play Services? Think of it as the glue that binds your phone to Google Play so you can authenticate and update apps and services on your phone. It’s not sexy but it is important and when it doesn’t play nice in the sandbox, it can make things a bit challenging.
That is exactly the purpose behind this update – to smooth out some rough edges. There are a lot of general performance improvements as well as some security improvements too. The focus however was on a significant number of bug fixes, particularly those around network connectivity. Remember, this app/service binds your phone to Google Play so when it is acting up and can’t connect to Google Play, you will get errors, even if you are on a solid Wi-Fi network. This update addresses a lot of those issues and I can say from my testing of it last night & this morning, it is
Prior to this update, I regularly had connectivity challenges in several games – Angry Birds 2, Real Racing 3, and occasionally Dead Trigger 2. What would happen is that I would attempt to use a network service (say to play in the Arena against someone else in Angry Birds 2) and I would get a connection failed error. Since updating Google Play Services, I’ve not had any such issues on any of the games.
You’ll see this update come to your device over the course of the next few days as it pushes out to the Google Play Store. Sometimes you will update an app and will get a warning notification that you need to update Services. If that is the case, tap on that notification and you should be brought to the update page for it.